Rwanda (MNN) — Opportunity International, along with three
of the world's leading Christian micro-enterprise organizations, is seeing
success in their latest project.
The partnership includes World Relief, a Baltimore-based
agency that specializes in rebuilding communities in the aftermath of war or
natural disaster. World Relief has operated Urwego Community Banking, the
first and largest micro-finance institution in Rwanda,
since 1997. World Relief Canada and HOPE International have been financial
partners in Urwego for several years.
The team launched a micro-finance bank for the poor in Rwanda
two months ago. Since then, they've seen
steady progress toward rebuilding and reunification in the community. Opportunity brings their financial and
technology expertise in the operation of the new bank.
According to the ministry, that is the foundation for
change. Dr. Ephraim Kabaija, former
chief of staff to President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and currently the President's
advisor on rural development, explained the critical need for a bank that
offers savings accounts to the Rwandan people. "Do you know how many
children die in our country every year because their mothers cannot afford the
$2 – $10 needed to buy medicines to treat diarrhea, fever, malaria and other
common illnesses? Do you appreciate how much angst, misery and despair we
could eliminate from our country if every family had $50 in a savings account?"
Over the next 12 to 18 months, UOMB expects to further
expand banking operations across the country using innovative technologies to
enable poor Rwandans easy access to safe and secure financial
Opportunity International provides small loans — sometimes
as little as $50 — and other services that allow poor entrepreneurs to start or
expand a business, develop a steady income, provide for their families and
create jobs for their neighbors. The Urwego Opportunity Micro-finance Bank
(UOMB) of Rwanda underscores the ministry's commitment to Christ's call in
serving the poor.